| | | Effective PR

F1

Max Verstappen is a polarising character. He arrived in Formula One with more talent than his emotional state could handle. He is the poster-boy for why there should be a minimum age limit for putting a weapon like an F1 car into someone's hands. The driver that he has become is unrecognisable as that moody and sometimes dangerous brat. He deserved his 2021 title and now, far from the end of the season, bar a major incident, he's this year's champion, too. And no matter what his detractors say, it's entirely on merit.

CoNet Section: 

Watching American motor racing always smacks of a trick when, not long before the end, a safety car comes out and everyone bunches up. Why not just to five lap sprint races because at the end of the day, that's all the racing that counts. So when one hears a TV commentator at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix say that we need a safety car to spice things up, there's a horrible sinking feeling, and a sour taste after the safety-car led debacle in the Abu Dhabi GP 2021.

CoNet Section: 

It was in 2014, in Sochi, shortly after Russian-backed terrorists in Eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that Formula One granted Russian President Vladimir Putin a unique privilege: at the first Formula One race in Russia in modern times, he was allowed to go into the cool-down room and to talk to drivers, teams and officials. He had had special treatment throughout: drivers were required to come to the front of the grid and to stand for the Russian national anthem and he sat, in pride of place, next to the then undisputed boss of F1, Bernie Ecclestone. But the world didn't really care about one plane from a minor nation far away from the centres of commerce, industry...

Publication: 

I'll set out my position in the first line so no one can be in any doubt: Max Verstappen is a deserving world motor racing champion.

But the sport, the drivers and the fans have been done a grave disservice by the Race Director, Michael Masi, who has capped off a season where he has demonstrated that he is unable to make a final decision and that he is easily swayed by the pleas of team principles who have learned that he can be easily bullied.

CoNet Section: 

Formula One fans across Asia and Australasia had a sleepless night watching the race that could have been the season climax but instead provided a last-minute equalizer that pushes Abu Dhabi to be the penalty-shoot out to decide a season of dogged determination, spectacular long-shots and own goals.

It's a fair bet that pretty much everyone involved in Formula One is in for a week of sleepless nights as the teams travel ten hours across the Middle East and unpack on Thursday ready for the Friday start.

And it all started when the teams arrived in Saudi Arabia and got a first proper look at the new Jeddah track.

CoNet Section: 

In less than a week's time, we will know who is the Formula One World Drivers' Champion and the Constructors' Champion for 2021.

When the teams pack up after the race in Abu Dhabi it will mark the end of multiple eras.

But there's a surprising history behind the two teams that are battling for the honours in a season that should not have been.

CoNet Section: 

If there was any justice, there would have been three top steps on the podium in the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.

But that's not how it works.

CoNet Section: 

It is becoming increasingly clear that my earlier argument that, if F1 is serious about providing the closest racing and the best spectacle, it really should abandon the massive shift in car design that is, now, only eight (or less) races away. The new qualifying format creates ample opportunity for the grid to be turned on its head and that helps but, as the race in Zandvoort showed, the fact that the lower budget teams have now had the chance to catch up with the big spenders has brought most of the pack into contention, as McLaren's historic first and second demonstrated in Monza.

CoNet Section: 

We're used to weather at the mighty Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes forest. Like many racing circuits, it has a micro-climate and, because of its trees, it is usual for moisture to hang around instead of burning off or blowing away.

But the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix was something else entirely.

CoNet Section: 

It would be easy, after all the negativity from Red Bull and Verstappen to see the Dutchman's first corner crash at the Hungaroring as karma but nothing could be further from the truth; nor could any implication that it was caused by a Mercedes to further undermine his title challenge. The simple fact is that a near-inevitable chaotic start to the race nearly put out half-the field of which Verstaapen was one of the entirely innocent pins in a high-speed game of skittles.

CoNet Section: 

In two races, four penalties have been awarded against drivers who were on the inside of corners when an opponent made an ill-advised overtaking manoeuvre around the outside and, for his trouble, went off, alleging fault on the part of the driver who had been in front going into the corner.

So now it's clear: if you want to sabotage someone else's race, especially in the melée of the first lap, all you have to do is take a dive. Norris and Russell and, almost karma-like, Perez have all suffered penalties when someone else put themselves in harm's way and then complained about it.

CoNet Section: 

F1 is making a bad mistake. Recent racing shows exactly why.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it; let well alone, and such phrases come to mind.

CoNet Section: 

The Styrian Grand Prix was very misleading. It looked processional, almost pedestrian. But it was far from that. Equally importantly, it wasn't a race of pit-stop strategies. Yes, there were some tyre management strategies employed - and if they demonstrated anything it was that, in general, it doesn't matter what tyres are used in which order and, equally, it isn't critical if drivers burn the tyres early in a stint or at the end. In fact, the only thing about tyres was whether they would determine a one or two stop race.

What really matters is that Red Bull and their soon-to-be-former engine supplier Honda have quietly gone about producing a car that is faster and handles better than the Mercedes. At the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton implied that his only hope for a win was that it would rain. It didn't.

CoNet Section: 

There's an old story of the boy who cried wolf: he told villagers that a wolf was coming so often that, when it was true, no one believed him. Mercedes have the opposite problem: they have been so dominant for so long that they could rely on Hamilton's genius and a rock-solid car to win race after race, championship after championship, break record after record.

Nothing in Formula One is easy but getting a great start and bolting out of reach, for so long Mercedes' stock in trade, has made it look simple. And they have been complacent.

It seems that they have failed to develop the thing that wins races when there are competitors: they don't know how to build winning strategies.

CoNet Section: 

It's the year that shouldn't have been and Mercedes are having a tough 2021. What's going on?

CoNet Section: 

Pages

hahagotcha